GEORGE TOWN: Hundreds of revellers thronged Wat Chayamangkalaram in Pulau Tikus here to usher in the Thai New Year or more popularly known as Songkran. They came early in the day and were armed with buckets of water and fistfuls of flour to douse and flour each other while wishing everyone “Sawatdee pi mai” (Happy New Year). The splashing and pouring of water on each other during the festival is part of the cleansing ritual to welcome the new year. The ritual is also a hope for blessings and good wishes whereby the things of old are washed away and bad luck warded off. Among those celebrating was Enya Teoh, 24, who said this was the first time she was celebrating the festival and was with a a group of friends. She said the celebration was a joyous one and she would be at the temple the entire day to celebrate the new year. A Japanese tourist, Taeko Umetsu, 33, and her two children also had a gala time by splashing each other with water. “This is my second time here and this vibrant culture and festive spirit should be maintained and celebrated,” she added. Also present for the festivities was Penang Tourism Development Committee chairman Danny Law and Thai Consul-General Ekajit Kraivichien. The Thais will be joined by some five million Malaysians today who will come together to celebrate and observe religious and cultural events. The Tamils and Malayalees will be celebrating their respective new year celebrations of Puthandu and Vishu while Sikhs will offer prayers at over 120 gurdwaras nationwide for Vaisakhi to mark the Sikh new year and commemorate the formation of Khalsa panth of warriors in 1699. It is additionally a spring harvest festival for the Sikhs. Christians will mark the solemn affair of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ on Good Friday, The Dhammikarama Temple will also be celebrating Myanmar’s New Year tomorrow and on Sunday. Tomorrow, Malaysians can visit Little India in Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur, which will showcase traditional Tamil dances and food.